Cover image for Ignis
Wilson, Gina, 1943-
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
Cambridge, MA : Candlewick Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 30 cm
Though he is admired by others, a young dragon does not feel complete because he cannot breathe fire.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.6 0.5 55708.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Award-winning artist P.J. Lynch illustrates this moving tale of a young dragon's quest for fire.

Ignis, a young dragon, is admired by all his friends. But he is sad, for while he can run faster and fly higher than the rest, there is one thing he cannot do--breathe fire. Perhaps he isn't a dragon at all, he thinks. So Ignis leaves the safety of Dragonland to find out who he is and where his fire might be. Along the way, he meets some unforgettable friends, shares some wonderful times, and feels truly warm inside. But he still cannot find his fire. Will Ignis ever discover the spark he needs to be a real dragon? Dazzling illustrations by renowned artist P.J. Lynch illuminate this magical,
heartwarming tale by Gina Wilson.

Author Notes

Gina Wilson teaches creative writing and has written several novels for young adults, a book of poetry for children, and three picture books for young children, including PROWLPUSS, which THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW called "a thoroughly delightful tale."

P.J. Lynch is the illustrator of many children's picture books, including GRANDAD'S PRAYERS OF THE EARTH, written by Douglas Wood, Susan Wojciechowski's THE CHRISTMAS MIRACLE OF JONATHAN TOOMEY, and Amy Hest's WHEN JESSIE CAME ACROSS THE SEA, all three of which were awarded the Christopher Medal. Of IGNIS, he says, "I have always found dragons the most fascinating of beasts, but in most stories they are just plain nasty, so it was nice to be able to show that dragons have feelings, too."

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 3-5, younger for reading aloud. It's Leo the Late Bloomer crossed with Arthur Rackham in this teaching tale about a young dragon. Ignis can fly faster and higher than any other dragon, but he doesn't have fire. His grandragon assures him it will come, and his sister and his best friend encourage him, but he mopes absurdly. He goes off to prove to himself that he isn't a parrot or a hippo and spends an enchanted week playing and telling stories with Cara, a little girl with amber skin and glorious black curls, in her grandmother's garden. But it is atop an old volcano that Ignis finally finds his fire, in an apt, useful metaphor for both individuality and puberty. Lynch's gouache-and-watercolor illustrations are full of shadows and light, greeny golds and fiery blues. The dragons, with their comical and expressive faces, are beautifully detailed--every scale and talon is in place. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido

Publisher's Weekly Review

A young dragon's quest for his fire fuels this cloying, fantastic tale about self-discovery. Ignis, a spirited dragonlet with beautiful wings, can run and fly faster than his sister and all his friends in Dragonland. Yet Ignis's peers outshine him in one crucial area: fire breathing. Feeling confused and inadequate, Ignis searches the land far and wide trying to find his fire and his true identity. On his travels he meets a human girl whose friendship and belief in him set Ignis on the right path. Wilson's (Prowlpuss) story never takes flight, lumbering along under the weight of sappy imagery (e.g., "His wings, depending on the weather, opened like silk umbrellas or gossamer parasols") and a precious spiritual message (when Ignis breathes fire atop a dormant volcano, the elders mistake it for "Mysteries and Miracles and Flames That Light Up the World"). Many of Lynch's (The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey) dark pencil and watercolor compositions, especially landscapes viewed by Ignis from the air, bring readers to the brink of a mysterious, magical world. But his depictions of a wide-eyed, anthropomorphic Ignis are inferior to the fine portraits of the elder dragons and of Cara, Ignis's human friend, resulting in an uneven outing. Ages 4-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 3-Lynch's considerable talent is tested on this predictable tale of a young dragon that cannot puff. Marred by a Disneyesque dialogue (with none of the comic relief), the plot centers on Ignis's quest for his flame/true identity. Sidekick Scintilla tells him she loves him regardless, but he is still compelled to go off in search of it. Ignis takes up the lifestyle of a hippo, parrot, and child-to no avail. It is only in his darkest hour, at the peak of a dormant volcano, that "-the very last spark from the volcano's very last eruption, one hundred years ago, came wandering out into the open, weak and wavering and looking for somewhere to light." Ignis is ignited at last. Close-ups of the protagonist and his friend are a touch too precious; the coquettish glances and exaggerated earnestness are at odds with the power of the artist's gouache-and-watercolor spreads depicting subtly shaded vistas, dappled pond water viewed from below, a dramatically lit volcano, and masterful portraiture. Fans of The Land before Time videos will gravitate to this offering. Inspired alternatives include Marguerite Davol's The Paper Dragon (Atheneum, 1997), Jay Williams's Everyone Knows What a Dragon Looks Like (Macmillan, 1984), and Peter S's's Komodo! (Greenwillow, 1993).-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.